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Jonathan Torrens will co-host 'Wipeout Canada'
From somewhere along the road between Halifax and Truro, N.S., Jonathan Torrens reflects on his big break in show business.
The likeable TV personality, 37, was born and raised on Prince Edward Island.
Although he's appeared in some iconic Canadian television shows over the years - from "Street Cents" and the "Royal Canadian Air Farce" to "Degrassi: The Next Generation" and "Trailer Park Boys" - he caught the acting bug as a youngster at Sherwood Elementary School in Charlottetown.
"My first ever acting gig was as the 'Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings' in the 1978 Sherwood school production, and I played the rabbit," he explains.
"I think the critics called it, 'not too sucky.'"
It's that trademark wit which recently landed him a hosting gig on the series "Wipeout Canada" on TVtropolis.
The obstacle course game show is built around contestants' hilarious falls and spills as they navigate the tricky course. Five P.E.I. residents were selected to compete from among the 45,000 across the country that applied.
Torrens said he's never had the opportunity to run the course, but did impart some wisdom on Island contestants vying for the show's $50,000 top prize.
"There seems to be a direct correlation between overconfidence and underperformance. Some of the contestants' egos are writing cheques their bodies simply can't cash," he said. "In the wake of the Canadian surge of patriotism and pride after the Olympics in Vancouver, it was interesting to see the amount of chest-puffing in the audition process ...they're 'representin' as the kids say."
Torrens will be pulling double-duty for the network once "Wipeout" begins airing in early 2011. He's also the host of his own show, "TV with TV's Jonathan Torrens," in which he sardonically examines various genres of television programs.
The series was recently renewed for a second season.
Throughout an eclectic TV career that Torrens describes as "a series of humbling kindnesses," he's found the most success by staying close to home.
After spending six years working in Los Angeles at the mercy of casting directors and agents, Torrens yearned to reestablish his roots in Atlantic Canada.
"Since I've moved back as a lifestyle choice, I've been lucky enough to make my own opportunities to a degree that I can live and work in the place where my heart is, and that's the Maritimes," he said. "I thought I would never be able in a million years to live and work in the same place."
Torrens often travels to the Island with his wife Carole and 11-month-old daughter Sugar-Daisy (the name is a long story).
He'd like to incorporate P.E.I. into his TV work in the near future. For now, he's happy to spend the occasional weekend in his home province with his family.
"We're most excited, my wife and I, to come over to the Dunes gallery next weekend," he said. "We're going to roll that into getting some egg rolls from the Canton Cafe and a Hook burger from Peter Pan (restaurant). That's a pretty tidy day trip if you ask me."